Skip to Main Content

Citing Sources

Iona University Libraries Research Guide on Citing Source


What are Citations

  • Citations give credit when our information comes from another source, and they help to avoid plagiarism
  • Citations provide credibility to your work as they provide a roadmap of your research process and share with your readers a way to track your research and read your sources
  • Citations are listed at the end of your paper as References, Bibliography, or Works Cited, depending on the style used
    •  In-text citations and footnotes are short references linking the information to the reference/bibliography/works cited page

Why Citations Matter

  • Acknowledgment of information being located from another source
  • Assisting your reader in finding the document you found the information
  • Supporting your argument in a scholarly dialogue
  • Demonstrating your credibility by signifying your research into a topic
  • If you don't cite your sources, you are guilty of plagiarism

When to Cite

  • Quote - when you use another's exact words, you need to use quotation marks
  • Paraphrase - when you take someone else's idea and put it in your own words
  • Summarize - when you describe another's ideas briefly
  • Use data or statistics
  • When you summarize or paraphrase an author's ideas, you must cite the source



Always introduce and explain a quotation, paraphrase, or summation to differentiate your voice from the source's and provide the significance of the idea.

Limit long quotes whenever possible.


When You Don't Need to Cite

  • Your ideas (unpublished or not previously submitted)
  • Common Knowledge
  • But err on the side of caution and cite if you are unsure
Always check with your professor as to which citation method you need.


Citation styles vary and are often associated with specific disciplines.

  • MLA (Modern Language Association) is typically used for literature, arts, and humanities
  • APA (American Psychological Association) is typically used for the social sciences
  • Chicago/Turabian (University of Chicago Press) is typically used for history
  • ACS (American Chemical Society) is typically used for chemistry
  • CSE (Council of Science Editors) is typically used for biology
  • ASA (The American Sociological Association) is typically used for sociology


Contact a librarian if you have any questions. We are always happy to assist you.